World Cup Draw Highlights: Matchups Let Teams Look Ahead to November

Rory Smith

Credit…David Ramos/Getty Images

Louis van Gaal said it all with just the hint of a playful smile. The Netherlands’ draw for the World Cup was not easy, he said, with his characteristic bluntness, and nor was it lucky. It was, instead, “colorful.” That was a better word. Ecuador’s sunshine yellow, Qatar’s rich maroon, Senegal’s deep green and that blazing Dutch orange: colorful.

He tried, as best he could, to hide his delight. He knew, after all, that the dice had fallen for him, and for his team, just as he had predicted — in graphic and not entirely serious terms — that it would. Everyone wanted to draw Qatar, the host and by a gulf the gentlest prospect of the top seeds. Only his team had been chosen.

But van Gaal…

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